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Cherry Point: Next few weeks are our chance to protect public health & safety

posted Jun 24, 2019, 10:57 AM by Simon Bakke   [ updated Jul 26, 2019, 11:21 AM ]
We have a rare opportunity in the coming weeks to hold oil companies accountable for the impacts of their fossil fuel projects. 

On June 18th, the Whatcom County Council began review of new code amendments on the table right now, aiming to protect our communities from dangerous fossil fuel expansions. Three years of our work together to safeguard communities from industrial impacts will come down to the next five months. And we have less than three weeks to get organized.

That same afternoon, Canada’s government announced it would put shovels in the ground this year to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline — which if completed will send over 400 tar sands export tankers per year through the Salish Sea, threatening local communities, fisheries, orcas, and the climate. And it means we'll face international pressures to expand oil shipments through Northwest Washington.

This makes it more urgent than ever that we put strong legal protections in place to safeguard Whatcom County — before it's too late.

Attend the public hearing on July 9th and wear red to show your support for improved safety and health standards for the fossil fuel industry in our area! Show up at 6:15PM to sign up to speak, and the hearing will begin at 7:00 PM.

Background

In 2016, Lummi Nation and our community blocked the would-be largest coal export terminal in North America, after the U.S Army Corps of Engineers recognized the terminal would violate Lummi Nation's treaty fishing rights. Soon after, Whatcom County Council imposed a temporary moratorium preventing new fossil fuel transshipment infrastructure at Cherry Point, until the county could create legal protections for people and the environment from impacts of fossil fuel projects. After a years-long process, the council has finally presented a set of draft amendments with those legal protections, and aims to pass a final version of them this fall.

What happens between now and the end of the year?

  • June 26th: Learn about what’s inside the new draft amendments at RE Sources’ monthly Activist Meeting. You’ll want to come to this if you want to make comments throughout the process that will truly make a difference.
  • July 9th: New code amendments will be on the county council’s agenda. This is your chance to speak up about strengthening the Cherry Point amendments to better safeguard public health and safety. There will also be a chance to support another extension of the temporary moratorium on risky new fossil fuel shipment projects at Cherry Point while the amendments are being finalized. 
  • July 25th - September 12th: Planning Commission Review and public meetings (Town Hall TBD).
  • Fall 2019: County Council review and revision of final ordinance.
  • November 5th: County Council and Executive Election ballots due.
  • December 3rd (or sooner): Final public hearing and vote on adoption of ordinance.

Come to the July 9th public hearing!